Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sephora has some good sales right now

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
I'm trying to save my money, so I am just going to do some fantasy shopping and inflict it on anyone who cares to read about it. The sale section on Sephora's website is full of things I'd like to try if I gave myself free rein. Of course, even in my fantasy, I only pick out things that have great reviews and are a good deal/significantly marked down.

The Urban Decay Electric palette is on sale for 50% off at $24. I've heard lots of people who use bright eyeshadows say that this palette is one of their favorites. I don't wear bright shadows often, but maybe I should? The indigo and teal shades definitely speak to me.

Urban Decay Electric palette $24
From Urban Decay, they also have the Spectrum palette marked down to $29 for a mix of brights and neutrals that might be more versatile. And the excellent Primer Potion in the discontinued packaging is only $10.

Other interesting looking palettes with a significant mark-down are the Bareminerals Neutral Attraction palette ($29) and Make Up Forever Artist Palette V. 2 ($34).

The mini sets of Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipsticks and Formula X nail polishes (that I heard about from Auxiliary Beauty) are on sale for $7.50 a set, or you can get 3 of each for $14.75. I haven't tried anything from KVD, actually, but I've liked all the Formula X polishes I've used.

Studded X set $14.75

Speaking of Formula X, a whole bunch of the polishes are marked down to $5 a bottle, which is a great price. There are some really interesting and unusual nail polishes in that line.

Formula X Capricious

A lot of Tarte stuff is also on sale, including the LipSurgence Lip Tints (which are horrendously overpriced at their full price but otherwise nice) for $12 and the Cheek Stains for $16.

If you tend to place more than two online orders from Sephora per year, it's really worth it to buy the $10 flash shipping for a year. Also, I think it saves me a little money because I don't become obsessed with adding random shit to my cart to meet the free shipping minimum of $50. Although I have to admit that I usually try to get to $25 in order to get one of the GWPs from the specials page (you can find these right at the bottom of the site on the right side at the Weekly Specials link), if there's anything interesting there.

So I've added a bunch of this stuff to my cart, and now my plan is to ignore it until: (a) I get bored with these things and don't want them anymore; (b) I have more room in my budget for makeup shopping; or (c) they all sell out. I'm guessing that (c) is the most likely to happen first.

How about you? Anything look good? Is that Electric palette really as much fun as I've heard?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bad Impulse: Milani Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in Matte Luxe

Milani Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in Matte Luxe

My local CVS had all of its Milani lip products marked down to $2.99 the other day. I'd hear good things about their matte lipsticks (including that they lack the nauseating watermelon stench of the regular lipsticks), but the selection remaining on the rack was pretty skimpy. Nevertheless, I was in a Just Buy Something, Anything sort of mood, and also still regretting that I hadn't picked up Urban Decay's orange Revolution Lipstick in Tilt when it was marked down, so I grabbed Matte Luxe on impulse.

Bad impulse. It's terrible. I returned it to get my precious 3 bucks back--which is why the photos here are so bad. I had to take them indoors on a gloomy day before I took it back.

It's not just the true orange lipstick looks terrible on me and I should know that by now. The formula of this stuff is abysmal. It's as though it doesn't adhere to the surface of the lips at all, but only gets caught up in lines and dry patches. My lips were not even particularly dry the day I took this photo, but this lipstick will find any flake it can.

Milani Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in Matte Luxe

I think the blurriness of the photo is actually making it look better than it did in person. You can't really see the completely bare patches that were left in between the streaks.

And yes, I can't wear oranges that lean too far yellow rather than pink or red. I should stick to red-oranges or corals. In my defense, it looked redder in the store lighting. This shade drains all the color out of my face--and that, combined with the awful texture, makes me look like I've contracted some particularly strange disease.

Here's a comparison with some red-orange and coral lipsticks, which I can actually wear:

Swatches of Milani Matte Luxe, Wet N Wild Purty Persimmon, BareMinerals Light It Up, and NYX Butter Lipstick in Little Susie

Left to right: Milani Matte Luxe, Wet N Wild Purty Persimmon, BareMinerals Light It Up, and NYX Butter Lipstick in Little Susie.

The experience just reinforces my general rule banning impulse purchases of products that I haven't seen reviewed. And also that just because some shades in a range are beloved and positively reviewed doesn't mean that the quality is consistent for the rest of them. Of course. I guess the fact that this shade was left behind and most of the nudes and pinks were gone was a sign.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks for $10 and other Urban Decay deals and free stuff (plus another duochrome!)

Disclosure: Affiliate/referral links.
HauteLook has 28 shades of the discontinued Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks for $9.97 each. I highly recommend Rapture and the matte After Dark. I was hoping that they'd have Tilt, since I missed out on that one in the sales during the spring, but since they don't appear to, I will probably sit this one out. (Ulta has marked them back up to $21 for some reason.) Shipping for beauty products from HauteLook is about $6 and you usually have to wait a couple of weeks for your order to ship.

cheap and free Urban Decay deals

Since I got the order pictured above in the mail yesterday, I figured I'd make this post completely Urban Decay-themed. I got everything shown there for $10. It's actually just 4 items, but still! From upper left going clockwise: travel-size Perversion mascara, eyeshadow single in Sideline, blush sample card, and 7 eyeshadow samples cards with a primer sample.

The way to do this is to sign up for Urban Decay Junkies program, which is free. By doing so, you get free shipping on every order, and you get a free eyeshadow single of your choice (regular price $19) during your birthday month with any full-price order. That includes travel-size products, so I picked out the Perversion mascara, which I've had samples of before and really liked. One of these mini tubes lasts me at least three months, which is when you're usually advised to toss mascaras (though I rarely adhere to that rule). Anyway, I get about as much use out of it before it dries up as I do a full-size mascara. The free sample cards were added to my cart when I checked. And let me repeat: free shipping!

You also earn points for purchases and other things like posting reviews, referrals, and connecting your social media accounts. The points can be redeemed for $10 and $20 rewards toward purchases on the site. It's a pretty good program. I don't know if I'll make many other orders, but it's worth signing up for the birthday gift alone.

Finally, swatches of Urban Decay Sideline, since of course I chose a duochrome as my free eyeshadow. It's a peachy gold with a green shift. The green is really vibrant in person, but for some reason it doesn't come across strongly in my photos.

Swatch of Urban Decay Sideline

Swatch of Urban Decay Sideline

[Note: I also took new photos of the Maybelline duochrome Color Tattoo for my recent duochrome eyeshadows post. They still don't show it in all its true glory, but they are an improvement.]

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Good but not great: Review of L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory

The L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer got a lot of hype when it first appeared on the market a year or two ago as an excellent budget option. I'm pretty dedicated to the brilliance of my Sephora Gel Serum Concealer (reviewed here), but I never can resist the siren song of cheap shit. The regular price for a tube of this stuff is $2.99.

Unfortunately, this concealer wasn't very easy for me to find. Walgreens sells it, but the stores in my areas don't seem to carry L.A. Girl. In the winter, I ordered a tube from drugstore.com in the winter in the shade Classic Ivory, which, as you'll see, is at least a shade too dark. There are two lighter shades which have recently been added to the range, Porcelain and Light Ivory, but many stores don't seem to stock them. In fact, Walgreens doesn't even have Classic Ivory on its website. You can get the lighter shades from L.A. Girl's website, but they charge $5 a tube plus shipping. So Classic Ivory it is.

I have to say, if I'm forced to choose between a concealer a shade too dark or a shade too light, I will go with too dark. For my own face, I don't like the look of completely blanking out and highlighting away any shadows under my eyes. While I don't necessarily favor "natural" makeup in the sense that I want to look like I'm not wearing any makeup at all, I do prefer that sort of effect for my skin. I'd rather have a natural texture that isn't flawless than a "perfect" but unreal base. Almost everyone has some darkness below their eyes, even if it's just a literal shadow, so completely obliterating that can look a bit artificial. Besides which, applying a too-light concealer on top of a zit can highlight it and draw attention, which presumably is exactly what you don't want the concealer to do.

You can see from the swatches below that L.A. Girl Classic Ivory is one of the darkest and peachiest concealers I have on hand. Peach can be good for canceling out blue under-eye circles, but something a touch lighter and more neutral would work better for me.

Swatches of LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory, Sephora Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant, TheBalm Time Balm Concealer in Lighter than Light, Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige, and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly

Left to right above: L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory, Sephora Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant (reviewed here), TheBalm Time Balm Concealer in Lighter than Light (reviewed here), Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige (reviewed here), and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly (reviewed here).

Overall, I'd call this a decent budget option, but not an amazing one. The opacity is medium at best, as you can see below, where I have concealer applied on the left side of the photo and none on the right. You can layer it a bit to make it more opaque, but only to a certain point. On the plus side, this means it's very easy to blend and it has a natural, skin-like texture (the "HD" part?). The sheerness ameliorates the imperfect shade match. It also looks natural on other parts of the face. It's very hard to detect the product, except for where it settles into creases under my eyes.

Left: LA Girl concealer in Classic Ivory; right: nothing.
And it does crease. A lot. This close-up photo below was taken just a few minutes later, and you can see the creasing here, which gets worse throughout the day, even if I pat it to blend it repeatedly. This concealer a moist formula, which may be better for drier skin than for my oily summer skin. It never completely sets, so that means continual creasing for me. It also doesn't last as long as I'd like. At the end of the day it has faded considerably.

Generally, in a concealer I will trade some opacity for a natural texture, so this stuff is a win in that category. But then the creasing kind of cancels out that natural, undetectable quality, so it ends up in the "just ok" zone.

As for the packaging, the squeeze tube with a brush at the end is functional applicator, though the brush gets goopy because you never quite use up all the product in it. If you don't like the idea of putting an applicator right back into the product, however, this might be a welcome alternative. I've also noticed that this concealer tends to separate so that when I squeeze it out there is some clear fluid and some chunky pigment. I deal with that problem by brushing it on to the back of my hand to mix it and then applying it to my face from there. I wonder if the separation happened because I bought it online in the winter. It may have been frozen during shipping.

In the end, the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal Concealer in Classic Ivory is a decent product for the price. I like the natural finish, but I think it would only be ideal for people without too much to cover (though it's entirely possible that other shades are more opaque). It would work best for people who don't worry about creasing and probably for those with skin on the drier side.

The concealers that people have most often recommended to me are (on opposite ends of the price spectrum) Hard Candy Glamoflauge and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer, so when Sephora inevitably discontinues my holy grail (yeah, I said it) Serum Concealer, I will try one of those next.

Have you tried the L.A. Girl concealer? Any better luck? And where did you buy it? Drugstore.com has it marked down to $2.25, but they will soon be gone. And Amazon seems to only have it in 3-packs (for a reasonable price).


Just a quick note: I'm playing around with Google AdSense and some Amazon ads here. Please let me know if they are irritating. I'm very open to receiving feedback.

Ultimately, I'd like to earn enough to get a better camera, because I think one of the main limitations of my blog is the photo quality. But that will probably take a very, very long time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"We believe Glossier is more than just beauty or beauty products. It’s a way of life."

Also: “We’re all feminists and we’re all fired up about the movement we’re leading.”

I have to admit that Glossier's branding and products appeal to me in almost zero ways. For instance, I am neither cool nor a girl, much less a cool girl. (I am slightly curious about the skin tint, but not enough to buy it.) But this profile of the brand is interesting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

drugstore.com is closing (clearance up to 60% off)

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Walgreens, which owns drugstore.com and beauty.com, has decided to shut both sites down. I'm a little disappointed, because in the past I've ordered a lot of drugstore products that I couldn't find locally from drugstore.com. Hopefully Walgreens will fill the void with its own website.

On the plus side, they've started clearing things out. For instance, the wonderful Smith's Rosebud Salve that Sephora sells for $6 is marked down to $3.59. There's a Wonder Woman liquid eyeliner set for $2.56 (no idea what brand it is). Tweezerman slant tweezers for $14.39. This is kind of random, but these spray bottles marked down to $2 create a perfect fine mist if you have any setting sprays or facial mists that need a better bottle. The beauty.com clearance section seems less interesting. I hope they'll add more before the sites are finally closed at the end of September.

Free shipping over $35.

Anyone going to miss these stores?

Monday, August 15, 2016

I Heart Duochromes: Eyeshadow Edition

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
e.l.f. Baked Eyeshadow in Enchanted, Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts, Makeup Geek Ritzy, Makeup Geek Typhoon, Urban Decay Fireball, City Color Mousse in White Gold, and Blend Mineral Cosmetics PIG3

(From top left: e.l.f. Baked Eyeshadow in Enchanted, Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts, Makeup Geek Ritzy, Makeup Geek Typhoon, Prestige Total Intensity eyeshadow in BewitchedUrban Decay Fireball, City Color Mousse in White Gold, and Blend Mineral Cosmetics PIG3.)

I have documented my love for shifty pigments before, such as in my Color Club Oil Slicks post. (Those were actually multichromes, not duochromes, as are a few of the eyeshadows here.) I love duochrome everything just because it's so damned beautiful--but duochrome eyeshadows have the additional benefit of being great for quick and lazy eye looks. The way the color changes depending how the light hits it means that I can blend a single eyeshadow from my lash line into my crease, and it will look like I put in more work than I did. (This works with some non-duochrome shimmer eyeshadows, too, like Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, reviewed here.)

I originally planned to post this round-up of all my duochrome eyeshadows a couple of years ago, but I had such a hard time photographing the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts that I set the whole project aside for a long time. I've decided to just go ahead and post the photos I have anyway, because enough already! I'm not a perfectionist. The complexity of the paler multi- and duochromes was very difficult (for me, at least) to capture in a photo. All of these eyeshadows really need to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. Anyway, by now I have several more shades to share, so maybe the wait was worth it!

None of my duochromes, with the exception of the LE Color Tattoo, are especially obscure. I know that indie cosmetics makers offer a lot of other options, but I still haven't got too far into indie makeup (a single Makeup Geek order and a Life's Entropy order aside). My hesitancy is in part because I don't have the patience to stalk things that are put out in small batches, and I am also not confident that I can tell which indie companies are reliable and which aren't. Nevertheless, if you want to collect all the duochromes, indies are probably the way to go.

The rest of this post consists mainly of photos (so many photos of eyeballs)--it's not meant as a review. More of a celebration. For that reason, I've swatched all of these eyeshadows over primer, with my finger, which is a technique I've criticized recently because it can make powder products look smoother and more pigmented than they really are. I'm trying to show the color shift as clearly as possible, rather than to compare the performance of each eyeshadow. But if you have questions about any of them, please feel free to ask!

Swatches! I only got the little sample pan of Urban Decay Fireball after I had photographed the other swatches, so it's pictured separately.

Swatches of Wet N Wild Comfort Zone, Prestige Total Intensity eyeshadow in Bewitched, Makeup Geek Ritzy, Makeup Geek Typhoon, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts, Blend Mineral Cosmetics PIG3, City Color Mousse in White Gold, and e.l.f. Baked Eyeshadow in Enchanted

Swatch of Urban Decay Fireball

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